Monthly Archives: December 2007

Hillary, Bonhoeffer, and Lies

In his seminal work on Ethics the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that “it is worse for a liar to tell the truth than for a lover of truth to tell a lie.”

Read it all.

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Problems with Afghan heroin

Way back in May, I wrote about the bumper crop of Heroin that was going to be coming out of Helmand province in Afghanistan, and what to do about it.

It’s better to pay the farmers for 610 metric tons of opium than to have it all flooding the EU and US streets in the form of cheap heroin, with the revenues paying for weapons and salaries for Al Qaeda. There are contractual and social solutions for the problems noted in Transform, and it would help to decouple the ordinary people in Helmand from Al Qaeda and associated criminal gangs.

Today the CFR interviews Romesh Bhattacharji who provides valuable data in support of this idea.

India is one of only a dozen countries allowed to grow opium poppies to export for the manufacture of legal drugs such as morphine. Romesh Bhattacharji, former narcotics commissioner for India, says he thinks India’s system of legalized opium growing can work in Afghanistan. Bhattacharji says India’s success with poppy growing (PDF) though an international licensing program for medicine production is largely due to a village control system, where if one farmer sells their crop illegally the entire area loses its license. He urges the adoption of this method in Afghanistan, where he says eradication efforts are ineffective and swaying support for the Taliban.

It took long enough for the lefties in the CFR to wise up to this idea!

Musa Qala, recently retaken from the Taliban in a battle that killed hundreds of Taliban fighters, was home to dozens of heroin processing labs that paid protection money to the Taliban and most likely sold the heroin to Taliban approved smugglers for transport over the mountains to someplace where it could be shipped to Europe and the US. The resurgence of Afghan Heroin has provided funds that enable the Taliban and Al Qaeda to return to action in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But the fighters did collect “taxes” from businesses, farmers and others, money used to help fund the insurgency that raged across the northern part of Helmand province in 2007, a year of record violence in Afghanistan.

Fariq Khan, a Musa Qala resident in his early 30s who owns a telephone shop, said the Taliban would take about $8 from each family every month during a collection at the mosque. Though small, the amount is significant; teachers in Afghanistan are paid only $50 a month.

Trucks passing through paid $50 and poppy farmers had to turn over 10 percent of their profits, Khan said, speaking to The Associated Press in Kandahar.

Musa Qala was the site of 50 to 70 heroin labs used to process the opium poppies.

Musa Qala is iconic for the battle in Helmand province. But every little village and town around it is in the same situation. It is smack in the middle of the Afghan poppy belt, and those opium poppies grow everywhere. Every village has more than its share of heroin labs. Every lab and farmer pays protection money to the Taliban and the Taliban smuggles the heroin out of Helmand using the same smuggling lines they use to smuggle themselves and their weapons across the border with the ungoverned parts of Pakistan.

How bad is the heroin problem exactly?

Afghanistan this year produced 93 percent of the world’s opium, the main ingredient in heroin. Helmand produced more than 50 percent of the country’s opium. More than 80 percent of the province’s farmers are involved in the opium trade.

Afghan Heroin is not just a problem for the US and Europe, but also for Afghanistan.

“I have been addicted to heroin for five years now,” said Faqirullah, sleepy and half-stoned in a bombed-out building in Kabul just a short walk from the national parliament.

Today Online has more to report from a story that appears to be written by Sardar Ahmad for AFP. Snippets follow.

Nearly a million Afghans, about four percent of the population, use drugs, according to the last UN survey in 2005.
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The figure is no doubt higher now, says counternarcotics ministry spokesman Sayed Amanullah Abdali, flicked upwards by the return every year of thousands of refugees from neighbouring Iran and Pakistan, where many first take drugs.

Another snippet.

Afghanistan is estimated this year to have produced 93 percent of the world’s illegal opium — about 8,200 tons, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
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Until a few years ago, most of it was exported in its raw form. Today the lion’s share, perhaps 90 percent, is turned into heroin inside the country, a UN official said in June.
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This means more profits for the drug traffickers, who are said to be linked to Taliban insurgents, and more heroin for the local addicts.

Trackposted to Faultline USA, Woman Honor Thyself, Adam’s Blog, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Walls of the City, Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Celebrity Smack, Big Dog’s Weblog, Chuck Adkins, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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Karzai prays for the Taliban on Eid al-Adha

It is time for some news from the Far End of the World, the region that touches the sky where the Pashtun tribes live between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Karzai prayed for the Taliban today.

‘Today … is a day we should remember those families who have lost loved ones in different terrorist acts like bombs and suicide attacks,’ Karzai said after prayers to mark the Eid al-Adha Muslim festival.’Today I also ask forgiveness from God for those Afghans who have been killed in the fight against the homeland if they are Taliban or otherwise,’ he said.

Karzai also chided the USA for fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Afghanistan is not a hideout for terrorism, but a victim of it.During an address Wednesday marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, Mr. Karzai urged the U.S. and its allies to target terrorists outside of Afghanistan.

That means in Pakistan. How, exactly, the US could operate freely in the Talibanistan regions of the borderland between Pakistan and Afghanistan is not clear.

The US military provides humanitarian aid, especially for the kids, in Afghanistan.

Each patrol was a foray into villages regarded as Taliban sanctuaries. Each began with tension and the possibility of violence. But the Taliban did not confront the heavily armed paratroopers, and within minutes the mood of the patrols shifted.Once the villagers realized that the platoons were accompanied by medics, they pushed forward sick children and pleaded for help.

A catalog of pediatric suffering quickly formed into queues: children with grotesque burns and skin infections, distended scrapes and scorpion and spider bites, bleeding ears, dimmed eyes or heavy, rolling coughs. Some were bandaged in dirty rags. Others were in wheelbarrows because they lacked the strength to walk.

The US can help people and their kids, while all the Taliban can promise is an ugly, painful death.

In even sadder news, Ismail Gulgee was discovered murdered in his home in Karachi, Pakistan.

Ismail Gulgee, Pakistan’s most prominent artist, was found murdered today with his wife and a maid in their Karachi home, police said. He was 81.They said the three were found gagged in different rooms of the house, which is in the city’s most upmarket district.

The hands of his wife, Zarina, were tied.

See some pictures here. Follow the links to the Painting Gallery.

And finally, convicted felons have charged Pakistan with secretly detaining terror suspects. This is hard to confirm or deny, as false accusations of illegal imprisonment and abuse in prison are standard operating procedure for Al Qaeda operatives who spend time in jail.

Trackposted to The Virtuous Republic, Faultline USA, Adam’s Blog, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Cao’s Blog, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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Not just no, but hell no

Paul Elias reports:

The lawyer and parents of John Walker Lindh, the American-born Taliban soldier serving 20 years in prison after his capture in Afghanistan, renewed their call to President Bush on Tuesday to commute his sentence and set him free.

See the headline.

Trackposted to The Virtuous Republic, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, Faultline USA, Adam’s Blog, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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Would the Media sell its soul to interview the Devil himself?

We shall find out shortly.

Al-Qaida has invited journalists to send questions to its No. 2 figure, Ayman al-Zawahri, in the first such offer by the increasingly media-savvy terror network to “interview” one of its leaders since the 9-11 attacks.

The invitation is a new twist in al-Qaida’s campaign to reach a broader audience, and represents an attempt by al-Zawahri to present himself as a sophisticated leader rather than a mass murderer.

According to the Beeb, the devilish Zawahiri is “opening himself up to questioning in a similar fashion to televised political debates.” Is that a Fox debate or one on CNN?

Maybe if we’re lucky at least one snowman will ask him a silly question about taxpayer-supported, socialist-style health care, to which Adam Gadahn can give him some kind of Chomskian, anti-American answer to spout off and impress the leftards at DU.

Trackposted to The Virtuous Republic, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, Faultline USA, Adam’s Blog, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Karachi Express Disaster

At least 900 passengers headed from Karachi to Lahore were crowded into the 16-car Karachi Express at 2:25 A.M. local time Wednesday (2125 GMT). The train was traveling at full speed when 12 of 16 cars derailed in Sindh province near Mehrabpur, about 250 miles north of Karachi. The trains slid into soft ground and water. At least 58 were killed and 150 injured. Pictures here.

Ashraf Khan reports

It was unclear what caused the accident, which left hundreds of terrified passengers trying to claw their way out of the wreckage in total darkness.

Mohammed Khalid, a railway official who was traveling in one of the rear cars that stayed on the rails, said he suspected a problem with the track.

“My guess is that there was some piece of rail missing and the engine jumped the missing track and the following wagon got stuck,” he said.

After the crash, a section of one rail had been torn loose. The engine came to a halt about a mile farther up the line.

Brig. Nazhar Jamil, the army officer in charge of the relief operation, said an initial inspection of the track found no sign of sabotage. He said excessive speed coupled with poor maintenance might have been to blame. The train had been full, but not overcrowded.

Asad Saeed, the general manager of Pakistan’s rail network said:

A welded track joint broke. There are many forces on the track and sometimes this joint breaks.

Relatives are unhappy with the rail company’s information center.

Musharraf has ordered an investigation of the crash and plans to prevent it from happening again.

The usual suspects will be right on it, inshallah.

And that’s the problem, isn’t it? Inshallah has all the procrastination of mañana, without the urgency. We’ll do preventive maintenance, inshallah. We will get trained on that system, inshallah. We’ll fix that section of rail properly instead of welding it again, inshallah.

And if it does happen, it will be a miracle.

Trackposted to The Virtuous Republic, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, Faultline USA, Adam’s Blog, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, and Conservative Cat, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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Putin!?

Time‘s man of the year?

Why not Ahmadinajad or Bin Laden while you’re going all out to honor thieves, terror-masters, and tyrants?

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